Fitness First sues sick woman to get $200 fee

Gosh I loathe this revolting money grubbing fitness chain.

Gym giant Fitness First has taken a former member, who could not work out due to medical problems, to court – all for the sake of $200.

Source: SMH.com.au

I was a member of Fitness First in Park St, Sydney CBD. I was disgusted by how filthy the changerooms were — the showers were visibly dirty, had a strong fungal smell, there were disused bandaids floating around and human fluids (saliva, mucus etc) around that hadn’t been cleaned away for days. Unfortunately I hadn’t inspected the changerooms etc before signing up to the contract.

I notified the gym that I considered their cleaning program inadequate and received a response from the manager that they had had a huge influx of members and hadn’t adjusted cleaning frequency accordingly and they would do so.

However, cleanliness did not improve in following weeks, so I decided to cancel my month-to-month membership (I had wisely taken month-to-month even though it was much more expensive, because of past experiences of disappointing service from commercial gyms, despite being locked into long term contracts.)

Fitness First made me pay another whole month of the month-to-month membership (buried in their terms and conditions somewhere) and refused to waive it even though I pointed out the hygiene problems in their changerooms. They simply said that after I’d pointed it out to them they’d addressed the problem.

The experience left me with a very bad taste in my mouth about Fitness First. Not to mention that they appeared to have rented space at the top of escalators etc to touters for fitness supplements etc on a frequent basis, so you’d get hassled each time you came to do a workout. There were scarce gym instructors available to help you free of charge, either. It seemed everywhere you turned, someone had their hand out for more money.

I was even told by a personal trainer in the gym that none of the money from the $50 three-session personal training packs that Fitness First pushes new members to buy when they sign up is passed on to the personal trainers. The trainer said they are expected to provide the three training sessions free of charge to the member, Fitness First keeps the $50, and the supposed upside is that the personal trainer might get a potential ongoing client. What an exploitative rort.

I would never again deal with Fitness First and advise everyone else not to join them as well. I’ve discovered that council-run municipal gyms, while nowhere near as flash, are just as good functionally and don’t have the intense pressure-sell mentality that Fitness First has.

(Published here for the sake of warning other Googlers who might be thinking of signing up with Fitness First.)

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13 Replies to “Fitness First sues sick woman to get $200 fee”

  1. I know so many people who have had similar experiences with Fitness First! Basically, I wouldn't join up with them unless I was going to stay on for a long time – and even then I'd have to be prepared to pay more than was agreed.
    My sister recently joined and signed up for what she was assured was a six month contract, only to find that when the six months was up, the person who'd signed her up no longer worked at that gym, and they admitted that they'd never offered six month contracts. The guy had lied just to get her to sign! She was going overseas that month so basically had to pay out the last six months! Never believe anything they say.

  2. I know so many people who have had similar experiences with Fitness First! Basically, I wouldn't join up with them unless I was going to stay on for a long time – and even then I'd have to be prepared to pay more than was agreed.
    My sister recently joined and signed up for what she was assured was a six month contract, only to find that when the six months was up, the person who'd signed her up no longer worked at that gym, and they admitted that they'd never offered six month contracts. The guy had lied just to get her to sign! She was going overseas that month so basically had to pay out the last six months! Never believe anything they say.

  3. I know so many people who have had similar experiences with Fitness First! Basically, I wouldn't join up with them unless I was going to stay on for a long time – and even then I'd have to be prepared to pay more than was agreed.
    My sister recently joined and signed up for what she was assured was a six month contract, only to find that when the six months was up, the person who'd signed her up no longer worked at that gym, and they admitted that they'd never offered six month contracts. The guy had lied just to get her to sign! She was going overseas that month so basically had to pay out the last six months! Never believe anything they say.

  4. My experience with Fitness First Lewisham (UK) wasn't very pleasant either. I signed in only for 3 months and at the beginning they offered me money return if I buy 2 hours with personal trainer (£25 – which I was supposed to get back after I go to the gym at least 7 times in the first 28 days). I was there 2-3 times a week, I signed up on their page and never saw the money back because the person who signed the contract with me either didn’t know why I didn’t get that money back (so she promised to check) and when I went there again she already was gone (didn’t work for Fitness First any more). But ok, I thought, I liked that trainer and what he thought me was mine any way, so I let it go. Then every time I went there something wasn’t working, either showers, or sauna, or sun bed, or soft drink machine etc. On top of it all the staff was really arrogant and had bad attitude towards members. Try to ask them about something when they are on the phone with a friend or sending text to someone and you’ll get nasty look saying “What the fuck do you want from me?”.

    I bought myself 60 min. sun bed because I was going to the weeding (abroad) and wanted to look nice and tanned. I used it once for 5 min. and the very next day they closed sun bed saying there is a construction work and I can’t use it, that I can come back in two days time. I came back and they had the same story for me (can’t use it). So I came back again and again same text: come back later. I got really annoyed with Fitness First and I cancelled my membership (I was already a member longer than 3 months). The same day I looked for some information on-line about the gym and I found so many negative forums about them and stories from people who cancelled their memberships and still paid the fees. I got scared, went back there the very next day and asked for a copy of my membership cancellation. I spoke to the manager (initials I.S.)), who even printed out and signed a letter for me confirming he will give me back the money for my sun bed. He seemed nice and unlike other employees of Fitness First he seemed to be willing to help. He said I had to wait one week to get the money back.

    I never got the money, plus after I cancelled my direct debit with the gym (I waited a month before I did this because I wanted to be fair and gave them a month notice), they charged me again using details from my card (without my permission or knowledge) which normally you provide while signing a contract, and this is illegal (fraudulent) as the bank consultant told me. I went to the Fitness First back again and I found out there is a new manager (initials S. J.), I explained to him what happened, showed him the letter I got and the copy of cancelled membership form. He called head office and they told him that according to them I’m still a member! Though at the Fitness First Lewisham computer I wasn’t a member any more. So that manager convinced me that he will deal with it and he will give me a refund. I was happy, finally someone sensible, he told me to go home and I should get all the money back within 2 weeks. Guess what, nothing happened! He even lied to me saying that he has a proof that the money was sent to me and printed it out to me. A piece of form he filled in with my name and the amount of money that I should get back, which he probably filled the same day I came back with more questions about my refund. I went to the bank (which is opposite to Fitness First Lewisham) because as he told me there must be some problem with my bank statements and that’s why I don’t see the money FF sent back to me. I went there to check. A lady in the bank told me the guy in Fitness First lied to me and I hadn’t received anything. I went back to the gym immediately. The manager told me he will take care of this and call me back at the end of the week. He never called. He never did anything. It’s over 3 months now and I’m still going there 1-2 times a week and every time they try to convince me they already solved it and I should wait, but recently the old manager came back and he’s avoiding me.

    I have a bank statement proving Fitness First used my card details to charge me and I’ve signatures from both managers on letter printed out with the amount of money they owe me. And it’s still not enough for them (they don’t consider it a proof). What should I do? Anyone knows what I can do?

    BTW, don't sign contracts with them. Look for some feedback on-line before you decide to sign in with them. I made a mistake and looked for it after it was too late.

  5. My experience with Fitness First Lewisham (UK) wasn't very pleasant either. I signed in only for 3 months and at the beginning they offered me money return if I buy 2 hours with personal trainer (£25 – which I was supposed to get back after I go to the gym at least 7 times in the first 28 days). I was there 2-3 times a week, I signed up on their page and never saw the money back because the person who signed the contract with me either didn’t know why I didn’t get that money back (so she promised to check) and when I went there again she already was gone (didn’t work for Fitness First any more). But ok, I thought, I liked that trainer and what he thought me was mine any way, so I let it go. Then every time I went there something wasn’t working, either showers, or sauna, or sun bed, or soft drink machine etc. On top of it all the staff was really arrogant and had bad attitude towards members. Try to ask them about something when they are on the phone with a friend or sending text to someone and you’ll get nasty look saying “What the fuck do you want from me?”.

    I bought myself 60 min. sun bed because I was going to the weeding (abroad) and wanted to look nice and tanned. I used it once for 5 min. and the very next day they closed sun bed saying there is a construction work and I can’t use it, that I can come back in two days time. I came back and they had the same story for me (can’t use it). So I came back again and again same text: come back later. I got really annoyed with Fitness First and I cancelled my membership (I was already a member longer than 3 months). The same day I looked for some information on-line about the gym and I found so many negative forums about them and stories from people who cancelled their memberships and still paid the fees. I got scared, went back there the very next day and asked for a copy of my membership cancellation. I spoke to the manager (initials I.S.)), who even printed out and signed a letter for me confirming he will give me back the money for my sun bed. He seemed nice and unlike other employees of Fitness First he seemed to be willing to help. He said I had to wait one week to get the money back.

    I never got the money, plus after I cancelled my direct debit with the gym (I waited a month before I did this because I wanted to be fair and gave them a month notice), they charged me again using details from my card (without my permission or knowledge) which normally you provide while signing a contract, and this is illegal (fraudulent) as the bank consultant told me. I went to the Fitness First back again and I found out there is a new manager (initials S. J.), I explained to him what happened, showed him the letter I got and the copy of cancelled membership form. He called head office and they told him that according to them I’m still a member! Though at the Fitness First Lewisham computer I wasn’t a member any more. So that manager convinced me that he will deal with it and he will give me a refund. I was happy, finally someone sensible, he told me to go home and I should get all the money back within 2 weeks. Guess what, nothing happened! He even lied to me saying that he has a proof that the money was sent to me and printed it out to me. A piece of form he filled in with my name and the amount of money that I should get back, which he probably filled the same day I came back with more questions about my refund. I went to the bank (which is opposite to Fitness First Lewisham) because as he told me there must be some problem with my bank statements and that’s why I don’t see the money FF sent back to me. I went there to check. A lady in the bank told me the guy in Fitness First lied to me and I hadn’t received anything. I went back to the gym immediately. The manager told me he will take care of this and call me back at the end of the week. He never called. He never did anything. It’s over 3 months now and I’m still going there 1-2 times a week and every time they try to convince me they already solved it and I should wait, but recently the old manager came back and he’s avoiding me.

    I have a bank statement proving Fitness First used my card details to charge me and I’ve signatures from both managers on letter printed out with the amount of money they owe me. And it’s still not enough for them (they don’t consider it a proof). What should I do? Anyone knows what I can do?

    BTW, don't sign contracts with them. Look for some feedback on-line before you decide to sign in with them. I made a mistake and looked for it after it was too late.

  6. My experience with Fitness First Lewisham (UK) wasn't very pleasant either. I signed in only for 3 months and at the beginning they offered me money return if I buy 2 hours with personal trainer (£25 – which I was supposed to get back after I go to the gym at least 7 times in the first 28 days). I was there 2-3 times a week, I signed up on their page and never saw the money back because the person who signed the contract with me either didn’t know why I didn’t get that money back (so she promised to check) and when I went there again she already was gone (didn’t work for Fitness First any more). But ok, I thought, I liked that trainer and what he thought me was mine any way, so I let it go. Then every time I went there something wasn’t working, either showers, or sauna, or sun bed, or soft drink machine etc. On top of it all the staff was really arrogant and had bad attitude towards members. Try to ask them about something when they are on the phone with a friend or sending text to someone and you’ll get nasty look saying “What the fuck do you want from me?”.

    I bought myself 60 min. sun bed because I was going to the weeding (abroad) and wanted to look nice and tanned. I used it once for 5 min. and the very next day they closed sun bed saying there is a construction work and I can’t use it, that I can come back in two days time. I came back and they had the same story for me (can’t use it). So I came back again and again same text: come back later. I got really annoyed with Fitness First and I cancelled my membership (I was already a member longer than 3 months). The same day I looked for some information on-line about the gym and I found so many negative forums about them and stories from people who cancelled their memberships and still paid the fees. I got scared, went back there the very next day and asked for a copy of my membership cancellation. I spoke to the manager (initials I.S.)), who even printed out and signed a letter for me confirming he will give me back the money for my sun bed. He seemed nice and unlike other employees of Fitness First he seemed to be willing to help. He said I had to wait one week to get the money back.

    I never got the money, plus after I cancelled my direct debit with the gym (I waited a month before I did this because I wanted to be fair and gave them a month notice), they charged me again using details from my card (without my permission or knowledge) which normally you provide while signing a contract, and this is illegal (fraudulent) as the bank consultant told me. I went to the Fitness First back again and I found out there is a new manager (initials S. J.), I explained to him what happened, showed him the letter I got and the copy of cancelled membership form. He called head office and they told him that according to them I’m still a member! Though at the Fitness First Lewisham computer I wasn’t a member any more. So that manager convinced me that he will deal with it and he will give me a refund. I was happy, finally someone sensible, he told me to go home and I should get all the money back within 2 weeks. Guess what, nothing happened! He even lied to me saying that he has a proof that the money was sent to me and printed it out to me. A piece of form he filled in with my name and the amount of money that I should get back, which he probably filled the same day I came back with more questions about my refund. I went to the bank (which is opposite to Fitness First Lewisham) because as he told me there must be some problem with my bank statements and that’s why I don’t see the money FF sent back to me. I went there to check. A lady in the bank told me the guy in Fitness First lied to me and I hadn’t received anything. I went back to the gym immediately. The manager told me he will take care of this and call me back at the end of the week. He never called. He never did anything. It’s over 3 months now and I’m still going there 1-2 times a week and every time they try to convince me they already solved it and I should wait, but recently the old manager came back and he’s avoiding me.

    I have a bank statement proving Fitness First used my card details to charge me and I’ve signatures from both managers on letter printed out with the amount of money they owe me. And it’s still not enough for them (they don’t consider it a proof). What should I do? Anyone knows what I can do?

    BTW, don't sign contracts with them. Look for some feedback on-line before you decide to sign in with them. I made a mistake and looked for it after it was too late.

  7. I searced the internet to find if anyone shared the same opinion as me- and I'm so glad to find that you do. Fitness first in the CBD is disgustingly dirty and the fact that members also think it's ok to leave it like that just makes me even more angry. It's a money-making business and unfortunately they have no desire to increase their hygiene standards. What's even more surprising is the price- it's really not cheap. Do you know of any other city gyms that have a decent reputation?

  8. hi guys my names Brendan and i have previously worked at Fitness Firts, i was a personal trainer, i do agree that the members consultants lie and carry on about memberships its quite odd, ass for personal training the reason we push you guys to personal training is the fact that we have to pay rent $ 250 a week, its rediculous, it puts pressure on us to go out there and get clients ! Fitness First have some really good staff. please dont think that it is all Gyms, the gym that i was at was outstanding !!!! But i can totally understand if you just want to do your own thing ! just try to see it from our side, were not bad people = )

  9. Hi everyone.Yes. You're right. Fitness First is a money making business. We are a business; therefore we need to make money to survive. If our prices were any cheaper, we would be going under, just like Zest. Zest has been our competitor for years, but due to low prices has had to shut its doors. For what you get in the price of your membership, the value is definitely there, obviously if you make use of the gym. I have found the only people that complain about the fortnightly prices, are usually the ones who don't access the club on a regular basis.As for all the complaints of you not getting out if your contracts, I have an idea… Maybe read the document before you sign on the dotted line and hand over bank details. The membership paperwork outlines very clearly in bold letters how the cancellations run. There is even a section to initial to say that you have 'read and understood the terms and conditions booklet.' If you read this section before signing, you therefore would have known to read the terms and conditions booklet. This would have lead to you understanding the procedures and there would have been no need to voice your opinion on this time wasting site.If Aneta reads this, I cant understand why that happened to you. I hope you eventually received your money back and I am sorry that you had to go through that. I assure you, Fitness First is not all about ripping people off. I have been a happy employee of Fitness First for the past 5 years and I have never heard of that happening to anybody here in Perth. Not on my watch anyway.And Suzanne… I am sorry you feel that way about the CBD club. You have to understand that when you have a large number of members that enter the gym on a regular basis, the club is not going to stay spotless even when we have cleaners visit the club twice per day already. If you are worried about hygiene; I suggest you purchase yourself a home gym and any health club I have ever worked at, always has problems in maintaining cleanliness. It is a public place, where people sweat, have showers, get changed and get ready to leave. Most people tend to use the clubs changing rooms as if it was their own living room. So Suzanne, the fact that you expected the club to be spotless rather surprises me. especially if you are training after peak times.Brendan. You say you used to be a PT? So you will understand that you pay $250 a week to access the club. Have unlimited hours to train all of your clients, free use of all of the gym equipment, BULK leads given to you on a daily basis so you can maintain your own business. It is only $250 per week. We give you all of your leads. You do not need to promote your own business, we do it all for you. Any good personal trainer has at least 30 paid sessions per week, averaging $50 per session. So that would take you to $1500 per week. Considering all you have to do is use the leads we spoon feed to you and turn them into paying clients, I am sure you will agree that you did get a good deal.I will be the first to admit their are membership consultants out there who would stretch the truth in order to get a sale, what sales person doesn't. It does surprise me how many people sign up without READING THEIR PAPERWORK. All the answers you have are in there. I cant believe any of you could be so stupid as to do otherwise.

  10. my experience with fitness first is a bit diferent.I join ff with my partner on a monthly basis since my partner was only on a temporarly visa in australia.In january 2010 i went to the front desk and told the personal that I wanted to cancel my membership.I was told that I would be paying the remaining of january since cancellation is on a monthly basis.In April I received a phone call asking me to pay more than $500 for Jan,Feb,March,April.They advised me that to cancel a membership I had to write a letter and then I would have a personal meeting with the relation manager who would make my membership canceled.I spoked to this manager explainig that we couldn't continued since my work was not giving me time to come training and my partner went back to Paris.She said that I would have to pay because she couldn't believe that I wasn't told the procedure regarding the cancellation.I paid and now 2 months later after all this negotiation I receive a letter where FF aske me an other $102.50 because my membership is not cancelled.Shame on you Fitness First.

  11. Sarah, surely you were advised by Fitness First never to make statements to any media regarding the company. Most companies have a clause similar to this in their employment contracts (or didn't you read yours). Fortunately for those of us researching which gym to join, you did comment and here we are.Your comment gives the impression that Fitness First has uncommon and possibly unfair cancellation policies when you said “paperwork outlines very clearly in bold letters how the cancellations run”. If the policy was simple and fair, surely the bold letters would not be required and the subsequent confusion would not occur.Secondly, don't trash the web site that you are providing your comments on. If they are kind enough to publish your opinion, then they're obviously not a “time wasting site”.And thirdly, if a customer complains about the cleanliness of the gym, is told that it is being rectified and then nothing happens, it is entirely reasonable for that customer to be upset. You just can't lie to your customers and think nothing of it. That's Customer Service 101.Word of mouth is a wonderful thing for companies that do well by their customers. And it's a nightmare for those that don't. Seems to me that the volume of bad press that Fitness First seems to be getting (and not just lately) speaks volumes about how they treat their customers.Just my opinon.Full disclosure: I am not a member, owner or employee of any organisation in the fitness industry.

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